FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 18, 2020
Dan Weist, Council Office
Lindsey Nikola, Mayor’s Office
SALT LAKE CITY – Tonight the Salt Lake City Council, working with Mayor Erin Mendenhall, passed a joint resolution formally establishing the Commission on Racial Equity in Policing, a new advising body convened to make recommendations to the Mayor and Council on the City’s policy, budget, and culture of policing.
The Mayor announced the initial formation of the Commission in late June with the selection of a core membership. The Commission, with its six core members, have since been meeting to choose additional members, select a facilitator, and sort out meeting logistics.
“This resolution further empowers the Commission to independently help show us the path to a City acting on racial injustices and rooting out systemic bias,” said Chris Wharton, Council Chair.
The Council and Mayor have recently initiated substantive changes to police policies, requested reviews of City Code, and allocated investments for underserved communities. Recommendations from the Commission are eagerly anticipated to guide further actions the City can take. The Council will hold space on each agenda for reports from the Commission.
“This is a crucial step in the progression of the Commission as we work to be transparent and build trust with the community around this important issue,” said Mayor Mendenhall. “Formally establishing the Commission means that the public will be able to be as informed and involved in their work as they can be with our typical public meetings.”
The joint resolution unanimously passed this evening, Tuesday, August 18, makes the Commission a public body under the Utah Open and Public Meetings Act to ensure its meetings are open to the public and that the Commission may hold a meeting and take action only when a quorum is present. The Commission has the authority to request information or materials from the City and its Police Department, and promptly receive it as part of the process to make recommendations to the Mayor and Council
The Joint Resolution begins:
WHEREAS, on May 25, 2020, George Perry Floyd died while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.
WHEREAS, in the aftermath of Mr. Floyd’s death, nationwide and in Salt Lake City, citizens have demanded that local governments address systemic racism in police departments and enact policies to establish racial equity in policing …
Read the entire Resolution here.
The Commission, now at 20 members, is composed of individuals who represent a broad and diverse range of communities of color, expertise, and viewpoints in Salt Lake City. The Commission’s core committee members were selected by the Mayor and City Council to lead in the structure of the Commission, invite others to participate and to create the space for productive and inclusive discourse with the broad group of Commissioners and the diversity of opinions. They will be advised by subcommittees of youth and activists.
The Commission is being asked to provide monthly reports, either verbally or in writing, to the Mayor and City Council which may include policy recommendations that can be implemented in the short or long term. The Commission also is being asked to produce a final report by July 1, 2021, and in the next twelve months intends to:
- Host community listening sessions;
- Develop a Commission Compact that identifies the rules of engagement and desired outcomes;
- Participate in the City Council’s zero-based budgeting work, as appropriate;
- Evaluate national best-practice policies for alignment with SLCPD policies;
- Recommend policy changes to SLCPD based on best practices and local needs;
- Create recommendations for a police department-specific racial equity plan;
- Explore ways to increase diversity (including cognitive diversity, racial diversity, and cultural diversity, and diversity of thought, culture, and approaches) in the SLCPD;
- Recommend ways to more meaningfully work with the Community Advocates Group and others;
- Recommend national memberships/initiatives the City should join;
- Review the Civilian Review Board’s role, processes, and policies and compare with recognized best practices for civilian review and oversight; and
- Develop next steps for the Commission at the conclusion of its work.
COMMISSION MEETING INFORMATION
Every Wednesday at 5 p.m. via Webex. For Commission media inquiries, please email REPcommission@slcgov.com or call 801-535-6006.
Kaletta Lynch, Special Projects Manager
Read More about the Commission: www.slc.gov/boards/racial-equity-in-policing-commission. The meeting information will be posted to this site.